Engineers and technicians at Holloman Air Force Base just proved how incredibly fast maglev can be by shattering two speed records in a single week. To break the records the team used rockets to propel a magnetically levitated sled over a 2,100 foot long track at 633 miles per hour.
To ensure the sled system works as planned, the 846th Test Squadron utilized liquid helium to cool the magnets. It’s the only one of its kind in the world, but appears to be functioning brilliantly well. The sled can accelerate at “928 feet per second.”
The system hit 513 miles per hour at first, then set an entirely new record for maglev speed a few days later at a staggering 633 miles per hour. The fastest a maglev train has ever traveled is around 375 miles per hour, and as the trains don’t burn fuel to move, they are very energy efficient. That also means they barely, if at all, pollute the air.
Lt. Col. Shawn Morgenstern said, “What we have planned to do after this test is refine the design of the sled itself. We want to look at some lighter materials and continue to see what kind of capability we can get out of this system in terms of the speeds that we’re capable of going.”
In addition to breaking records, the maglev sled system tests “sensitive electronic components for weapons systems.” The 846th Test Squadron also tests technology for ejection seats, as well as supersonic and hypersonic travel.